Pekka Rinne certainly did not need to prove a point.
It is unlikely many doubted the Nashville Predators goalie was worth what the franchise agreed to pay him for the next seven seasons when the sides agreed to a new contract Thursday.
The 29-year-old who also celebrated his birthday the same day as his $49 million contract immediately rewarded the franchise’s largess when he posted his third shutout in six games as the Predators defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 at Jobing.com Arena.
Rinne stopped all 35 shots he faced three days after he allowed a season-high five goals in a loss to Chicago.
It was his highest save total in a shutout since he made 35 back on Feb. 5 last season against Detroit. More than half his franchise-record 23 career shutouts have required 30 or more saves on his part.
He also fared much better than the first time he faced Phoenix this season, a 5-2 loss back on Oct. 13 in the Predators’ home-opener.
Jonathon Blum and Matt Halischuk scored second-period goals for Nashville, which had lost three of its previous four road games. Patric Hornqvist added an empty-net goal for his team-high fifth and his fourth straight game with a goal.
Nashville continues its current five-game road trip Saturday at San Jose (9:30 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee), where it has won just three times in the past seven seasons.